SouthPark area businesses look to return to normal after fire shakes community
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A day after a devastating fire rocked the entire SouthPark community, residents and business owners are looking to get back to normal.
“It’s tough because we watched them build it this entire time and then to just watch it go up in flames,” local hospital worker Stephanie said.
While flames and smoke no longer cast a shadow over SouthPark, those that live and work there are overcome by sadness.
“It’s a little tough,” Stephanie continued. “I mean, just hearing about the guy that they rescued from the crane, the two others that were over there that they were searching for, the one that didn’t make it — so that is heartbreaking. And then the debris.
“It kind of messes with you mentally.”
The majority of local hospital workers, wait staff, and shop employees evacuated Thursday are now having to walk over debris and pass by yellow tape to get back to work.
“Really devastating event yesterday and for the whole SouthPark community,” said Shak Patel, owner of the Potbelly Sandwich Shop in the nearby Piedmont Town Center. “The whole shopping center was shut down yesterday by 12 O’clock. I think it was mandated by the city. But, yeah, we were out of here by 12. It is a little slower than normal today outside, but we are sure it is because of the events that transpired.”
Even those that live in the area say they too were hesitant to go outside Friday.
“Because maybe people are scared to come out here or something, because I was,” Shoaneh Anthony said.
“We get a lot of phone calls, just hey, ‘Should I come in for my appointment?’ ‘Are you guys even open?’” Stephanie said. “So, I don’t know if people really know if there are a lot of places over here that are still open or if they are still because how can they get there?”
With minimal foot traffic, some shop owners are hoping to attract another kind of customer this weekend – who won’t have to spend a dime.
“I actually came up with the idea this morning,” Patel said. “I wanted to feed all of the firefighters, police officers and first responders — on Potbelly. Actually we will run it through the weekend to be honest with you — a sandwich, chip drink on the house. Come by bring your family. I am OK with it.”
Another large hot spot for the SouthPark community is the mall itself.
A spokesperson with SouthPark Mall told Queen City News it has not been impacted by the fire.
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